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Children found locked inside dog cage, father and mother arrested

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Deanna Wagner | 13 February, 2019, 23:11

The children, who range in ages between one and five years old, were fed by authorities and sent to a hospital to be evaluated.

The two adults are charged with four counts of child endangerment. Harkings also is charged with one aggravated assault count.

Sheriff Lane Akin said that while deputies were talking to the man and woman, they heard the sound of children coming from inside a building. Two other children, ages 3 and 1, were also found covered in their own urine and feces and appeared malnourished, the sheriff said.

"I've not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting", he said.

Texas deputies responding to a domestic disturbance call found four malnourished children, two of whom were locked inside a dog crate, Wise County Chief Deputy Craig Johnson said Tuesday.

The children were taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth for evaluation. Deputies arrested Harkins and Fabila on four counts of child endangerment each and took them to the Wise County Jail, Johnson said.

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"The others appeared malnourished, covered in urine and feces", Akin said.

According to a WFAA report, authorities in Wise County received a call at about 7:20 a.m. on February 12 about a violent incident involving a man and a woman at a house off County Road 4930 near Newark, located about 30 miles north of Fort Worth.

Johnson said there was a refrigerator in the living space but it had a lock on it. A hospital spokeswoman declined to disclose their conditions. The man had cuts to his face. The children were adopted by Cheatham and her estranged husband, the sheriff's department said.

He says the children's parents were home and that they had been fighting. "You'd think that, being right across the street we would know something", she told CBS Dallas. "I guess you never know what people are doing inside their homes".

The couple has had contact with the Department of Children Services before Tuesday's investigation, according to DFPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales.